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Parking: What Everyone Needs to Know

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 5 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Parking Motorists Crossing Lines Park

As the number of cars on Britain’s roads increases, finding a place to park has become even more of a headache for motorists. There are a few rules that you should follow, however, to make sure that your parking is safe, secure and fine-free.

Follow the Golden Rules

The first thing to think about when parking is to be considerate. Make sure that if your car is in a public space, you leave it somewhere where you are legally entitled to park it. First, check for yellow lines, broken or solid, and look for signposts that indicate what time of day you can park.

Make sure that your parking doesn’t cause inconvenience to others, for example parking in other people’s driveways, parking on or close to pedestrian crossings or on the zigzag markings outside of schools.

Some roads are so narrow that it means parking on the footway is impossible to avoid. If you must do so, make sure that your car doesn’t take up unnecessary space on the footway, leaving enough room for a child’s buggy or wheelchairs to pass through.

Parking Violations

The good news is that parking violations are not criminal offences. The Road Traffic Act (1991) passed the control of parking to regional authorities and councils.

These authorities do have the power, however, to set parking regulations and fine people who break the rules. Most authorities have discovered that parking fines are a useful way to generate additional revenue.

Getting a Parking Ticket

If you find your car has been issued with a parking ticket, first make sure that the details on the ticket, such as the date, time, and license number, are correct. Any incorrect information can render a ticket invalid.

It would be unwise to ignore a parking ticket, even if you believe it is unfair. If you believe that the ticket was issued unlawfully or was unfair, you should be able to appeal to the relevant local authority. Avoid confronting the traffic warden who issued the ticket, as once a ticket has been issued it cannot be rescinded, no matter how persuasive you are.

Unloading a Vehicle

Most traffic wardens will give motorists some leeway if they are parked because they are loading or unloading a vehicle. Bear in mind however that the car will need to be removed as soon as possible and must be parked legally when the loading or unloading is completed.

Vehicle Security?

Wherever you park, you should always make sure to leave nothing of value in your car, such as mobile phones, satellite navigation units or even small change, within sight of anyone else. According to the AA, almost two thirds of all vehicles stolen in the UK are nine years old or more, as they are the easiest to break into and usually do not have an alarm.

If you have a car that is at the upper end of the age range, it may be worth investing in precautionary measures such as a steering lock for added security.

Car Clampers

Private car clamping companies used to have an unwelcome reputation for unfair clamping. Since 2005, however, all private clampers must have an official license. This is supposed to make the appeals process simpler, although private clampers are still able to charge significant sums of money to have a clamped vehicle released back to the owner.

If your vehicle is clamped and you are required to pay a release fee, make sure that you are issued with a receipt that includes details such as the clamping company’s name and address.

The Government has restricted private clamper’s access to DVLA records in a bid to stamp out ‘cowboy practices’, although sadly some illegal clamping companies still operate.

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